Governor Northam, Crack Down on Nursing Homes, Not Restaurants

By Carol J. Bova

Last week Julie Henderson, director of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Environmental Health Services, said her agency was going to request $6 million for 92 positions to educate the public and businesses about executive orders and how to enforce them.

If there is $6 million available for enforcement and education personnel, send them out to the nursing homes, correctional facilities and other congregate settings. Restaurants are not causing the deaths and suffering occurring from those outbreaks.

Of 956 virus deaths reported since June 1, 498 or 52% were from long term care facilities. Since the outbreak tracking began, long-term care facilities were responsible 1,294 of 1,370 outbreak deaths – that’s 94.5% of all outbreak deaths.

Let citizens make their own choices about going to restaurants. Post a warning if a restaurant isn’t meeting your standards, but shutting them down based on a complaint system isn’t going to save lives in the same way enforcing basic hygiene and infection controls in nursing homes will. Put the money where it’s going to make a difference.


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6 responses to “Governor Northam, Crack Down on Nursing Homes, Not Restaurants”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Agreed. At this point, the data is fairly clear on what is safe and what is not. Many of the recommendations from March-April are proven meaningless, and should be abandoned in favor of concentration on what really works. It takes a few minutes of close contact with an infected person to pick this up, not the minimal contact that used to be so scary back in April. (Don’t step off the sidewalk to pass.)

    A packed bar – bad place to be. Even an outdoor venue can be dangerous if crowded, and if packed even outdoors the masks make a difference. Strangers laughing and shouting at the next indoor table five feet away? Uh, no. But really, how many cases are being picked up by contact with surfaces? While sitting on a beach or walking a path? During five minutes inside a store? And then there is the long, bitter and nasty fight over schools, disregarding evidence that they can be operated safely, and the cases that turn up there usually came in from elsewhere.

    There is this show on Food Network called Restaurant Impossible, and the host has been visiting restaurants dealing with the pandemic to help them comply with the recommendations and build confidence in customers that they are safe. I think restaurants probably are quite safe with decent spacing and outdoor dining poses about zero risk. Ate out last night on a patio sitting next to Bacon. Will advise if it goes south.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Pretty much agree with Steve except to say that the older you are, the more important it is to recognize and avoid unsafe situations – but even
    then you need to be aware of family members or others you spend time with if they are going out to unsafe places.

    I like the following chart from Florida for August 8 because it does a good job of representing the overall context and shows how the virus concentrates more fatally on the older.

    it came from here: wfla[dot]com/community/health/coronavirus/florida-coronavirus-state-reports-182-deaths-521-new-hospitalizations/

  3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Spend the $6M on teaching people how to not grow old. Voila!

  4. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Has anyone ever determined, tracked, which cases began in nursing facilities from those that simply ended in one?

    1. Back in June when they were first showing nursing home data, I think I posted an InsideNoVA article with some incomplete data along those lines for Fairfax.

  5. But shutting businesses down based on a complaint system is a newsworthy way of showing that the government is DOING something about this pandemic – and citizens can proudly participate in government by filing lots of complaints…


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